State Highlights: N.Y. Court Ends Taxi Health Care Fund

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Maryland, Colorado and Massachusetts.

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: New York Court Guts A Groundbreaking Health-Care Fund That Would Have Changed Taxi Drivers’ Lives
Until late last week, help seemed close. In 2012, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission had voted to take six cents on every fare for a fund that would help with exactly these kinds of situations, providing upwards of $300 per week in assistance as soon as a driver could produce a doctor's note. The money started flowing in February, and Singh was just waiting for newly installed Mayor Bill DeBlasio to greenlight a contract for the fund's administrator, who could then begin doling out cash. And then, on Friday, Singh's hopes fizzled: A New York State Supreme Court judge struck down the TLC's rule, in a decision that may limit how independent workers -- who are exposed to the most economic risk and enjoy the fewest legal protections -- can collectively organize for benefits that are otherwise beyond their reach (DePillis, 4/16).

The Denver Post: Colorado's Monitoring Of Psychotropics Trails Other States' Efforts
Colorado lags other states that established policies years ago to reduce the use of powerful psychotropic drugs by children in foster care. Since 1992, Illinois has contracted with a medical school to review all prescriptions for children in foster care and to advise state officials on whether to allow the medication (Osher and Brown, 4/16).

The Washington Post: Gansler Calls Health Care ‘A Right’ In His Latest TV Ad For Maryland Governor
Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler is keeping the focus on health care in his latest television ad. In the 15-second spot, Gansler, Maryland’s attorney general, tells viewers that “health care is a right” (Wagner, 4/16).

The Boston Globe: New Scrutiny For Bridgewater State Hospital After Complaints
A federally funded watchdog group has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse and neglect of inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital, interviewing staff and inmates this week about reports that guards and clinicians are illegally putting mentally ill men into physical restraints and isolation cells. Lawyers from the Disability Law Center, designated under federal law to investigate complaints about the abuse of disabled people, converged on the medium-security prison Tuesday to meet with administrators, gather records, and meet with patients, the Department of Correction confirmed Wednesday. … If Disability Law Center officials conclude they have found wrongdoing, they could file a federal lawsuit against the state to force changes (Rezendes, 4/17).

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